First, let me dispel any romance. Luna threw up in the back of the car on the way down, and faithful Wolfie ate it all. Once we had begun walking, the dogs ate every deer pellet and horse apple they could find. Seduced by the turds of the mysteries, they ran deliriously from spot to spot, rolling and gobbling. Luna found something disgusting on a low foot bridge, swirled her body all over it, and so entranced, did a back-flip off the bridge into mud. Two minutes later, she flung herself down a steep edge into five feet of water. I had to go in after her and haul her out by the scruff. As I pulled myself up the bank, soaked and grumbling, she raced after Wolfie, unfazed.
They both ran – through long sweeps of beech whose leaves were all a burnt orange, through the wetlands of this stretch of the Brandywine, over the two covered bridges, up and up the middle of a series of hills, mown hay fields to our west and east. The cold had settled in the night before and big cumulus clouds coursed above us and layered the sky with fluid shades of gray and blue and sharp beams of sunlight. Patti, who has the best eyes of anyone I know, found two immature bald eagles sporting above us, roaming in tight circles and diving at each other. At the top we ate beef sandwiches and tangerines. When we started across the fields and headed towards a tree line and back towards the creek, the dogs raced ahead and back, ecstatic.
That morning I had read these words in Ulysses: “One life is all. One body. Do. But do (166).” This climbing, wet, rushing day felt like those sentences. Not much thinking. Moving. Watching. Taking delight in.
The next day the dogs and I walked a nasty, rock-embedded, ankle-breaking trail above the French Creek at St. Peters. For the first two hundred yards we passed granite boulder fields disfigured with graffiti – black skulls, red and blue curses and insults, multi-colored signs and markers of every cretinous type. Nothing but a dull brown scrubland all around. A half-mile or so in I stepped on this, an ostensibly thoughtful message among the garbage:
But not really very thoughtful. Whoever took the time to write all this probably believed that he was among those who could see without being shown, when really, we all belong to all the classes he describes plus one more, those who never see even when shown.
We drove home and ran back and forth in the yard, balls and Frisbees flying and Luna chomped into Wolfie’s white ruff like a rodeo trick rider trying to hoist herself back onto her pony. Watching them I thought of how much more I want to see, and then how much more I want others to show me everything strange, profound, beautiful and the ugly too, anything that will provoke my interest. The unknown graffitist says See. Joyce says Do. I want enough time for both and the humility to take in all of it.